Senate majority could be dependent on few key races
The House may be up for grabs due to the vast size of the re-election pool, however, the Senate will likely come down to a few races.
Currently, the Senate is 51-49 in favor of the Republicans. 23 Democrats and 42 Republicans keep their seats this election, while 27 and 8 are up for re-election respectively. The Democrats, when looking at the numbers, have a significant amount of ground to cover, although FiveThirtyEight claims that 18 of these seats are locked in, while only four Republican seats are landslides. Out of the remaining races, 5 races are largely in favor of the Democrats while two favor Republicans, so in total six elections will be deciding the fate of the Senate.
Here are all six of the biggest races you need to know about:
The Nevada Senate Election is easily the closest race this midterm season. Dean Heller (R) is the incumbent senator, while Jacky Rosen is the Democratic challenger. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer originally saw Rosen’s campaign as a walk in the park but just recently Heller has closed in on Rosen after a scintillating debate performance. Heller leads Rosen by a minuscule margin of .9 percent.
If the numbers don’t demonstrate the importance of the narrow race, both Joe Biden and Donald Trump, two possible 2020 presidents, are campaigning in multiple Nevada locations for their respective candidates. Jacky Rosen is trying to draw in Western progressives with a very California-esque agenda, and Heller is leaning on a demographic that typically leans right by interpreting Rosen’s views as borderline radical. FiveThirtyEight considered this election to be under the category of “toss-up.”
Originally the North Dakota race looked to be a close one, with Heidi Heitkamp (D) being viewed as a serviceable Senator in a Trump-held territory.
And then Kavanaugh happened.
Heitkamp said herself that if she was thinking politically and not morally her confirmation vote would have gone to Kavanaugh, but her decision to oppose the confirmation has cost her dearly. Challenger Kevin Cramer is taking full advantage of the situation and claimed a sizable lead of three points in a race that was supposed to come down to the wire.
Heitkamp’s decision is only one example of the lasting effects the Kavanaugh hearings. The Trump Administration portrayed Kavanaugh’s confirmation as a smear campaign by the Democrats, and whether or not such an accusation garners any validity, the President is galvanizing a substantial base of voters.
From verbal assaults thrown at Ted Cruz and his wife to protestors approaching Jeff Flake on the Senate elevator, a large demographic of Republican voters are now motivated to go to the polls in order to prevent “mob rule.” The Kavanaugh-Ford hearings have a quantitative effect on the upcoming election. Since September 29th, the GOP’s probability of retaining the Senate skyrocketed to 80 percent, and currently, the chances only dipped to 79 percent.
After Jeff Flake (R) decided he would not be running for re-election, the Democratic Party is putting as much of its resources towards gaining a crucial seat in a right-leaning state. Donald Trump is a vehement supporter of the Republican candidate, Martha McSally, a military woman who draws many parallels to the President himself.
On the other hand, the Democratic candidate is a real dark horse. Kyrsten Sinema (D) is under extreme pressure to close out this election, with polling numbers placing Sinema two points ahead of McSally. However, the party will face extreme internal issues if her victory occurs, as Sinema is fairly opposed to the idea of Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) becoming the Majority Leader. A high percentage of Democrats are looking to appoint Schumer to the position, and her criticism certainly raises eyebrows.
Although Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson has been maintaining a moderately healthy lead throughout the campaign, former Governor Rick Scott (R) is making a comeback as Election Day approaches.
In most polls, Scott is trailing by a slight margin of two points and reducing the gap day by day. Scott’s miracle likely stems from a plethora of endorsements, including the widely-coveted Presidential approval.
Missouri and Tennessee:
The two Midwest races are paired together not only because of their partisan geographic location but due to the swing in polling numbers the two elections are facing. In Missouri, Josh Hawley (R) has cut his polling deficit to less than two points against prominent incumbent Claire McCaskill (D).
Hawley recently received a significant cash injection from lobbyists and super-PAC’s as well as efficient transportation methods, which have ignited a rapid series of Hawley rallies in the past few weeks.
Marsha Blackburn (R) is doing quite the opposite in Tennessee, as she has widened her lead to a worthy four points. Such a lead will be extremely strenuous and difficult for Phil Bredesen (D), but anything can change the race drastically in the coming weeks.
Now, how has Trump affected the midterms?
The President has always been a prominent voice in Congressional elections and this year is no different, out of the 37 candidates he endorsed, only five did not make it out of the primaries. He’s used his social media platforms and press conferences to involve himself in the crucial races, and so far his efforts are inevitably making an impact. However, many GOP candidates are facing the decision of whether to align themselves with the President considering how polarizing his influence is.
Noah Giglietti is a lead contributor for The Daily Lead.